Barely weeks after blocking local access to UK-based portal the Sarawak Report for violating local internet laws, the Malaysia government is now seeking the help of major social media platform players to help stem the "rise of rumours and false information". Twitter, Facebook and Google have been targeted for talks with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.
Although the three companies have already been cooperating with the authorities, their cooperation needs to step up, Communications and Multimedia Minister Dr Salleh Said Keruak said. In 2014, around 78% of the commission's requests for removal of content were acted on by the social media providers, with Facebook acceding to 81% of the government's requests.
"I have instructed the MCMC to meet social media platform providers - Facebook, Google and Twitter soon to seek their cooperation to stem the increasing tide of false information and rumours from spreading via their social media platforms. While social media providers have been cooperative, we are requesting them to be more sensitive with our local environment.
"Deeper cooperation from social media providers is vital in the public interest to help authorities to uphold the laws and keep citizens of this country safe from harm. [Although the authorities have the power to] restrict access or block such applications, they will not do so as the majority of social media users are using such applications positively and not for negative... purposes," Salleh said in his blog on 17 August.
Highlighting laws in Malaysia that govern the spread of false and unverified information, he said the online environment "is not a lawless space and action can be taken against anyone found to have breached the law, including in the online space."
The Minister said: "As a responsible government, it has an obligation to protect its citizens from harm, including threats posed by postings in the social media and internet."